I read a lot. This is a selection of what I read this week (8/24/20 through 8/30/20) that I think you should read, too.
*Arimeta Diop’s From Megan Thee Stallion to Breonna Taylor, Black Women’s Trauma Deserves Better Than Memes for Vanity Fair: “Arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor” continues reverberating throughout social media, and it’s obviously an urgent sentiment. Megan Thee Stallion recently underwent foot surgery when she suffered a shooting in a domestic violence incident. Both have ended up the fodder for memetic jokes, and Black women cultural critics point out that their situations reflect how Americans consistently downplay and mock their very real pain.
*Eric Michael Johnson’s Survival of the… Nicest? Check Out the Other Theory of Evolution for Yes! Magazine: Natural selection and evolution isn’t quite the ruggedly individualistic, “every creature for itself” process it’s all too often wrongly portrayed as. Truth is, humanity only made it this far due to collaboration and compassion. In our earliest days, the selfish had to be excised in order to assure survival for the rest of the group. Where did we go wrong? And how did Darwin’s writings wind up so bastardized to justify inequalities and resource hoarding?
*Kingdom of Torgu entry at Atlas Obscura: The micronation of Torgu, in Estonia, happened entirely by clerical error during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992. While the paperwork eventually got sorted out, the little section still takes pride in their brief autonomous history.
*Danielle Stillman’s All or Nothing: how an Irish dancing influencer misses the mark during a pandemic for Medium: Although her piece starts off as a specific indictment of pandemic productivity pressure in the Irish dance community, Stillman expands her views to include any discipline. And she’s right. Given variances in physical and mental health, resources, priorities, living situation, and other variables, the idea that sheltering in place buys people infinite free time to condition themselves or build skills is asinine. She also looks at the hypocrisy of Irish dancing branding itself as “not as body-shaming as ballet” despite applying the language of morality to practitioners’ eating habits.
*Richard Taylor’s Fractal patterns in nature and art are aesthetically pleasing and stress-reducing for The Conversation: While I appreciate the science behind aesthetics, I am hesitant when people use science to declare a universal standard of aesthetics. This doesn’t seem to be Dr. Taylor’s intent, and I hope it isn’t any readers’ takeaway. This piece looks at the research into why many humans find pleasure in repetition and patterns in their art and their forays into the natural world.
*Petrine TX’s The Best Movie Sandwiches at Saigon Drugs: Most of these look legitimately good (not so much Ally Sheedy’s lunch in The Breakfast Club, but I’ve never been one for Pixie Stix) and oh god I need a sandwich right now.
As always, my weeklies/weeklies-ish:
Eric Kostiuk Williams posted an untitled two-page comic to Twitter looking at the life of a queer bar’s bathroom. It’s a lovely piece about the plethora of experiences within the LGBTQIAP+ community and the passage of time, with liberal dashes of humor and wistfulness.
I didn’t have as much time to delve further into Tadashi Suzuki’s The Way of Acting as I’d have liked this week, unfortunately. What I was able to read, however, continued reiterating his ideas that, despite his extensive experience in Japanese theatre, his philosophies apply to other geographical locations and cultural milieus.
The essay “Human Experience and the Group,” for example, reflects on how differences in gender and age among performers must be honored as contributing to the development of everyone in the troupe, but they also create obstacles when communicating. However, Suzuki noted that “disparities based on age and sex are beginning to disappear.” He hails a more family-style model as the optimal structure for a theatre, as it forges tighter bonds between cast and crew than a theatre centered on a rigid ideology.
See you next week, fellow bookish buffs!
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